Instruments Used in Soul Music

Soul music is an integral part of pop culture, its influence apparent in many different genres of music. From vocal harmony groups to rock bands, the style, emotion and instrumentation of soul music is at the core of it all.

The Origin Of Soul

Soul music originated in North America in the 1950's. Its sound is an amalgamation of gospel, rhythm and blues, and blues music.


Soul music has a very distinctive sound that can be attributed to the primary instruments used. Most soul music consists of electric bass, drums, electric guitar, keyboards and a brass section.



Soul music manages to sound loose while still remaining tight and rhythmically precise. The dynamic is created by syncopated rhythm sections combined with clean one-note guitar lines.



Several instruments are synonymous with soul music, including the Hammond B3 Organ, Fender Rhodes electric piano, saxophone and electric guitar. Soul music is usually driven by fat electric bass sounds and acoustic drums.


Iconic Soul Song

Marvin Gaye's version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" is a fine example of soul music. It includes a Fender Rhodes, electric guitar, drums, electric bass and even string orchestration in its ensemble.



About the Author

Rina Shah is a law student with degrees in psychology and business administration from the University of Texas and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics. She has worked in law, nonprofits, information technology and teaching. Shah has over five years of experience writing for various purposes on the job and more than 10 years of academic writing.